Recently, I realized that our morning routine had gone out the door and we needed to get it together. I realized that breakfast was a bottleneck for us but I was not sure how to fix it. My son has always done better with a high protein breakfast and my husband wants nothing to do with oatmeal. So we typically cooked a full breakfast each morning: eggs, meat and potatoes, egg casserole, pancakes with bacon, etc. For a long time this worked well for us, as my children were all early risers and would help make breakfast each morning.
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However, between busy schedules, late nights, and sleeping a bit later in the morning, it just was not working anymore. It was getting to be later and later when we finished cleaning up the kitchen from breakfast and got our school day started. While one of the things I love about homeschooling is the flexibility to set our own schedule, these late mornings were causing us to be rushed to finish up and do things in the afternoons. I really wanted to be able to go ahead and get our school day started by about 9 am so that we could comfortably be done before our afternoon activities. This also gives us much needed free time for outdoor play and activities.
I brainstormed breakfast ideas with my family. I asked my readers for ideas for easy and fast protein packed breakfasts that were low glycemic index and did not involve oatmeal. I added the ideas to my meal plan and gave it all a try. I have found several ideas that we really love, and we have some other ideas we still need to try out. Daylight Savings Time threw our mornings off a bit last week, but all in all I am seeing a marked improvement in our ability to eat breakfast, clean up the kitchen and get our day started by ‘on time’. I may add to this list in the coming weeks but I wanted to go ahead and share what has worked well so far. You will notice that some of these are made ahead, some cook fast, some were prepackaged, and others take longer but do not require a lot of hands on time which means we can be working on other things while breakfast cooks.
Frozen Breakfast Burritos
We tried two different versions of frozen breakfast burritos. I found a brand of premade breakfast burritos that were on sale buy one get one free so I decided to give them a try. The price was very reasonable with the sale (about $1..17 each) but we found that they really didn’t suit the tastes of my family. We also tried making our own frozen breakfast burritos and those were a big hit! We will absolutely be keeping those in the rotation.
To make our own we simply scrambled up a dozen eggs with a bit of milk, a touch of salt, and some cheddar cheese. After cooking the eggs we sliced some additional cheese and placed a slice or two of cheese into each tortilla and then a scoop of eggs. We folded up the tortilla and wrapped it in foil. You can refrigerate these for a couple of days or freeze them. When you are ready to use them, simply take them out of the freezer, place on a baking sheet and cook in the over at 350 for about 20 minutes or until hot. You can add salsa and sour cream that day if desired. These were very nice because there was very little clean up and only about 2 minutes of hands on time that morning.
Instant Pot Breakfasts
We found this recipe for an Instant Pot sausage, egg, and potatoes breakfast and were excited to try it. The first time we tried we followed the recipe. We found that our family did not really like the sauce. I adapted the recipe by using water or broth instead of the sauce and found that it was much more to our tastes. We also skip the bell peppers because not everyone in my family likes them. We really enjoyed it with those simple changes. I timed myself and it took me six minutes of prep work in the morning to get it started. This was cutting the potatoes, onion, and sausage and putting everything into the instant pot. It took about 30 minutes start to finish to get breakfast on the table, but only those first six minutes and then a minute or two to put it onto plates are active time. I could set it to start and then work on getting the little ones dressed and ready for the day. There was lots of protein and it was delicious. My husband and son added a bit of Cajun seasoning to their potatoes to give them a little added kick.
We also found that we could boil eggs in the Instant Pot to eat that morning or for eating throughout the week. These are an easy way to add protein to any breakfast. They also work well as an easy high protein snack.
Scrambling eggs really doesn’t take all that long, but somehow it always seems to make a big mess and take longer than it should to clean up in our house. It also takes very attentive focus so that they do not burn. Egg molds solve this attention problem and clean up easily. You simply scramble your eggs and mix in whatever add ins you would like to mix into them. This could be veggies like spinach, peppers, squash, or onions. You could also add in small bits of meat like ham. Then ladle it into the molds. You can stack two molds on top of each other and cook them at the same time. This breakfast idea uses the instant pot for hands free cooking. Place one cup of water in the bottom of the instant pot, put in the rack and then place the egg mold on top. If you are using two egg molds be sure to place them off center of each other so that the top one doesn’t sink into the molds of the first one. Then cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. We often added toast, fruit, or english muffins to round out breakfast on egg mold day. To speed up the process even more you could mix them up the night before, place them in the fridge with the lids on and then in the morning just take the lids off and put them in the instant pot.
When I think of waffles, I do not think of a speedy breakfast. If we actually make waffles from scratch in the morning, it can take a very long time and due to the grains and syrup, they tend to be high on the glycemic index. However, my children love them and I wanted to find workable options.
First, we searched and found a couple of brands of frozen organic whole grain waffles. The whole grains lower the glycemic index. Then we looked at our toppings to see how we could improve those. Instead of maple syrup we used agave or yogurt and my son adds peanut butter to his for extra protein. These were supper fast and easy but a bit pricier than homemade.
The other option that we found was to make and freeze our own waffles. We can use a whole grain waffle recipe, add in a little protein powder and make yummy healthy waffles. Making waffles can be a messy ordeal but it doesn’t make any more mess to make four batches than one batch so you can make enough for three or four breakfasts all at once. We tend to do this on a morning that is not rushed but you can also do this one evening and freeze all of them. Then just pop them in the oven for a few minutes when you are ready to enjoy them.
This idea is one we have been using and perfecting for a while now. It does take quite a bit of time to cook so you do not want to make it fresh on a morning when you are trying to rush out the door. However, it is an easy recipe to double and it does not take very much ‘hands on’ time. You can mix up a large one the first morning or even the night before. We use twelve eggs, a pound of sausage, eight ounces of cheese, two or three shredded potatoes, a bit of milk and salt and pepper to taste. I also like to add vegetables depending on what we have available, particularly squash or broccoli. Bake until the eggs are cooked through (about 40-45 minutes). Then we eat half of it the first morning and store the other half in the refrigerator until later in the week when we warm it up for a second breakfast.
I hope you find these ideas useful. I am still testing out some options for muffins, breads, and even a healthy ‘pie’ that might be good options to make ahead and have for breakfast. I will share those in another post next month. Please remember that I am not a medical professional. These breakfast ideas work for us but if you have questions about health and nutrition please consult your physician. I would love to hear about your favorite high protein breakfasts.
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Deals and Freebies
Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.
Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)
Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)